RTTNews - The Australian stock market got off to a cautious start on Tuesday with participants, looking for some direction, indulging in some selling in early trading. The U.S. and London markets were closed on Monday for national holidays and there are no prominent cues from the national front as well.

The Australian benchmark index S&P/ASX 200 is trading at 3,730.10, down 7.80 points from its previous close. Earlier, after moving on to 3,746, the index had drifted down to 3,723. The All Ordinaries index is down by 10.50 points at 3,724.80.

On Monday, the S&P/ASX200 index had slipped by 23.70 points to 3,737.90, while the broader All Ordinaries index ended lower by 20.10 points at 3,735.30.

Financials stocks, which attracted some heavy selling during the later half of the session on Monday after the regulators lifted the ban on short-selling, are mostly seen struggling for support this morning. Commonwealth Bank of Australia is down by 1.75%, Westpac Banking Corporations is trading lower by 1.3%. ANZ Bank and National Bank of Australia are also trading weak, though with less pronounced losses. Diversified financials stock Macquarie Group is down by 1.65%.

Energy stocks are drifting lower, while materials are exhibiting a mixed trend. Telecommunications and information technology stocks are finding some support. Not much buying is seen in the healthcare space.

Amid growing speculation that the mining giant's planned $US19.5 billion deal with Chinalco has been scrapped, Rio Tinto has attracted some selling this morning and the stock is currently trading 1.2% down from its previous close.

According to media reports, Jan du Plessis, the Rio Tinto chairman, will visit Canberra later this week and meet local investors amid growing opposition to both a planned $US7.2 billion convertible bond sale and a $US12.3 billion sale of stakes in Rio's best iron ore, copper and aluminium assets to China's state-owned aluminium giant Chinalco. Several big local shareholders, including Australian Foundation Investment Corp and Ausbil Dexia, have opposed the deal since February, when it was inked in an environment of frozen credit and equity markets.

Media firm Beyond International has cut its net profit target for the 2009 financial year by about 20 per cent due to difficult trading conditions. The company said it is now targeting net profit of between A$4.7 million and A$5.1 million, down from the previously advised A$5.7 million to A$6 million. It had posted a net profit of A$4.992 million in 2007/08. The company's stock was not traded this morning.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar is trading at 0.7786 to the U.S. dollar.

Among the other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, New Zealand and Japan are trading lower this morning.

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